Skip to main content

Public Health England Health & Justice report 2014

This report provides details of key changes in the health and justice system and discusses the public health needs of people in Prescribed Places of Detention (PPDs). In addition to demographic details of people in detained settings the report explores some of the key public health initiatives developed in partnership with NHS England, NOMS, the Home Office and the Youth Justice Board.

People in the CJS often come from marginalised and underserved communities in the wider population and by tackling health inequalities in this population we can address wider health inequalities which benefits not only those in prisons but wider society. There is a co-dependency between partners to tackle inequalities and reduce re-offending and we have already seen the benefits of working in partnership to respond to these health inequalities.

Over the past 10 years investment in criminal justice based substance misuse interventions have made a marked contribution to reducing drug and alcohol related crime and improving health outcomes. During 2014 significant progress on tackling a range of health issues within the prescribed estate has been achieved. This includes improving the data and intelligence about people in PPDs through the introduction of Health & Justice Indicators of Performance (HJIPs) as well as improving the reporting of infectious diseases. Initiating workstreams with partners to directly confront health inequalities include the introduction of the opt-out testing for blood-borne viruses (BBVs) which aims to increase the diagnosis and treatment of people in prison for infection with a BBV. This is producing benefits with preliminary data indicating a near doubling of BBV testing following the introduction of the opt-out testing policy.

Progress in our international work has seen a number of developments since PHE took over the leadership function of the World Health Organization Health in Prisons Programme (WHO HIPP) from 1 April 2014. The focus of this work is to support the development of a European network to share experiences and provide expertise and guidance to address the health issues facing people in prison in Europe. In October 2014 PHE in partnership with the WHO and Irish Prison Service hosted a 2 day international conference in Portlaoise, the Republic of Ireland which addressed two distinct themes: prisoner empowerment and improving lives in the community
.
Finally, information on infectious diseases within prisons in detailed in appendix A. PHE provides data from a range of sources which facilitates a better understanding of the health protection issues facing this population as well as how to manage such need. This is a vital task as we attempt to measure the impact of new policies such as the introduction of opt-out testing for BBVs in all prisons in England.

It is the intention to produce a health and justice report every year to detail the public health needs of people in PPDs and discuss the initiatives being undertaken to address their needs.